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Getting Value from Professional Organizations

As a Cisco team member, I’m convinced that the value of professional organizations cannot be understated. It’s understood that employees across various industries have a lot on their plate these days. Data centers, SDN’s or large solutions that help a manufacturing plant to become more “connected” are more than enough projects to keep us busy. However, employees often forget the value of professional organizations that are relevant within each industry. Whether an employee belongs to a professional organization or not, employees must realize the value that these organizations have: professional credibility, influence messaging on a ground level and increasing visibility for Cisco are some of the most important aspects that being involved with professional organizations can bring about.

Professional Credibility

Professional organizations are a place where I can network, learn and help deliver Cisco messaging as well as educate, engage and contact customers through community involvement.  When I first joined Cisco 15 years ago, I regularly attended and presented at monthly users group meetings, but over the years, Cisco’s participation at these meetings has waned and appears to be trending down. Often, I think we take for granted the value of professional organizations, but they provide a standard for professional credibility and give Cisco a broader visibility. As a member of an industry professional organization, specifically the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), I get tremendous value through education and networking.  I know my colleague Rick Geiger, who is on the Gridwise Alliance Board of Directors, would agree. At the local and state level, large impacts are possible as professional association members are able to drive professional credibility, influence agendas and position topics to society members who work or interact with our customer base.

For example, several months ago I received a monthly newsletter promoting a seminar on Software Defined Networking (SDN). One line stated “Software Defined Networking has got Cisco shaking in their boots because it just might completely transform what types of equipment are needed to build a network.  Do I have your attention now?”  Needless to say, I registered and attended – member discount to boot.

Education of members was the primary purpose of the seminar, meaning attendees expected the delivery of neutral, fair and technically accurate presentation on the future of software defined networks.  As I saw it, the presentation on SDN was focused on a Google approach to SDN architecture for data centers, and included a good amount of Cisco bashing. Nonetheless, the seminar provided an opportunity to influence the messaging at ground level and the topics discussed seemed to be informative and beneficial for all those in attendance.

Influence Messaging and Topics at Ground Level

Understanding the messaging and positioning of the local technical mavens presents a golden opportunity to counter and influence at street level. The bottom line, secure all forums to get Cisco’s messaging to our end users.  The IEEE meeting provided a good opportunity to secure a date and timeslot to present Cisco’s SDN and Application-Centric Infrastructure strategies as well as an opportunity to counter any negative perception the audience picked.  As Mike Robinson, Practice Architect states:

“As a member of UTC’s Smart Network Council, I get to collaborate with leading utilities in the United States who are dealing with the industry’s pressing issues. This is hugely valuable. It offers a direct path to decision makers, a seat at the table as they develop their strategies, and it builds trust as a colleague (as opposed to coming across just as a vendor). Also, through UTC I get the opportunity to speak at conventions, periodic forums, and regional meetings.”

Broader Visibility for Cisco

Cisco will also have an opportunity to drive thought leadership to influencers – Mavens and Sales specialists who will attend the upcoming session I secured. Account managers, engineers and other members of the sales team should make it a priority to get engaged with professional organizations, user groups and other community influencers.

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Summary: Top 10 ICT Trends in 2015: are you ready for digital transformation?

By Kevin Bloch, Cisco Chief Technology Officer, Australia and New Zealand

One of the best parts about my job is that I get to spend a lot of time listening to some very smart people, both internally within Cisco and externally. As we touch so many parts of the global technology industry and market, it puts me in a fantastic position to see what’s coming down the track. So, each year around this time, I take the opportunity to offer some predictions for the year ahead (which, incidentally, is Cisco’s 30th birthday).

It will probably come as no surprise that the biggest theme you’ll hear about this year is digital transformation, which is essentially underpinned by the Internet of Everything (IoE). In the next twelve months, enterprises will spend more than $40 billion globally, designing, implementing and operating the Internet of Things (IoT). Already thirty-eight percent of technology spend is outside of IT.

Read the full Top 10 ICT Trends in 2015 blog and feel free to provide any feedback.

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Milan, Please Meet Open Network Architecture for Service Providers

By Igor Dayen, SP Product and Solutions Marketing

Igor-Dayen

When I look at the sky, I see an infinite number of stars. It is a moment of inspiration when I gaze at the sky in hope of spotting something miraculous. Looking at the Telecom industry and its new innovations, I feel the same. A new star is rising almost every day. Well … to find Cisco innovations and its stars look no further: the Service provider booth at Cisco Live Milan 2015 is bringing everything that you every wished to see under the stardom of the service provider. Please let me take you through the “starlog” of innovations and demos that will be available for you to engage in and learn about how they advance your business.

Stardate 2015. You may know that the Cisco NVI forecast predicts significant traffic growth and Moore’s Law has never failed us. Therefore Cisco’s service provider strategy is to stay ahead of the curve and deliver SP solutions to Read More »

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ACI Delivers Operational Simplicity

Let’s start this blog with a hypothetical scenario. Suppose you’re the CIO and you’ve committed to your CEO and the Board of Directors that your company will execute an innovative new strategy to delight your customers directly through their mobile devices  and leverage the cloud to service them at scale.  You are 90% complete in your development and you just need to complete your final beta and production readiness testing to roll it out to production when you learn your leading competitor is going to beat you to the market with their own application next month.

Is your cloud infrastructure really as agile as you believe? Will the physical infrastructure scale with the load?  Will you be able to secure your application and data from threats?  Can you rapidly deploy a production application across servers, networks, and storage infrastructure securely?

During Cisco’s Data Center webcast Jan 13, we’ll walk through the hypothetical use case above and then see how Day 1 operations for configuration and deployment can be addressed in real life by customers and enabling vendors.

Episode 1: An Impossible Deadline

day1 (click to play)

We’ll look at Day 2 operations and learn how important application visibility across physical and virtual infrastructure is to meet the most stringent uptime requirements.

Episode 2: The Needle in the Haystack

day2

 (click to play)

Finally, we examine the challenges of de-commissioning applications securely while maintaining compliance.

Episode  3: Operation Clean Up

day3

 (click to play)

DCJoin us during the webcast as we hear from ACI customers who will share their production experiences with ACI and  how it impacts their day 1 and day 2 operations.  Hear ACI ecosystem partners who will share how they collaborate through ACI’s open policy model to simplify application delivery, security and orchestrate open clouds.

Make a note on your calendar for January 13th at 9 AM PST/ 12 EST  and see  Is your Data Center Ready for the Application Economy? (Register Here!).

The video on demand will be accessible through this same link.

 

If you are traveling to Cisco Live in Milan, Italy; please come to my session  PSODCT-2455 “Simplify Day 0, 1, and 2 Operations in Application Centric Data Centers” on Jan 29th from 1:15PM — 2:15PM to learn how operations like tenant on-boarding, creating applications containers and self-service catalogs, application monitoring and troubleshooting can all be simplified with application policy driven automation.

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Software Defined Networks with L4-L7 ADC Policy Automation

It appears only a short time ago we introduced Cisco ACI to the market, but it is already the one-year anniversary time. In this one-year period, we have seen tremendous momentum on customer adoption and partner eco-system for both the Nexus 9k hardware platform and the ACI software. To date there are more than 1,000 plus Nexus 9k hardware customers and 200 plus ACI software customers. And don’t forget the growing eco-system of partners that now stands at an impressive 34.

To commemorate this one-year anniversary of ACI and its success, we have planned a grand Data Center Webcast to be broadcast on Jan 13 at 9 AM PST. Click here to register for the webcast. Attendees of the webcast will have the opportunity to hear from our ACI ecosystem partners how their solutions integrate to help customize and extend ACI deployments. The audience will also hear from Cisco customers all over the world about the benefits they’ve discovered with our ACI architecture. Check out Cisco exec Shashi Kiran’s blog for more details on the webcast.

For the remainder of this blog I am going to focus on the ACI L4-L7 partner eco-system momentum. Since August 2014, major L4-L7 Application Delivery Controller (ADC) vendors have collaborated with our Insieme Business Unit to build, test, certify joint integrated solutions and introduce publicly downloadable device packages for customers to seamlessly deploy ACI in existing ADC deployments.

servicechainnew

What makes the ACI integration with L4-L7 ADC vendors’ devices so seamless and easy? Well, the answer lies in the flexible and open service policy management inherent in ACI. The highly open and programmable nature of Cisco APIC and the ability to selectively associate service chains with specific applications and data flows, and the flexibility of applying application delivery policies to different applications (Figure-1). This far exceeds that of a traditional network based ADC. To date F5, Citrix, A10 Networks have built FCS versions of device packages for Cisco ACI. I want to take you on a quick tour of each of these ACI joint solutions, and the benefits they uniquely bring to existing customer deployments.

The exciting L4-L7 eco-system ramp began in August 2014 when ADC market leader F5 announced the availability of its device package for ACI. Since then, our partnership has clicked into high gear. We had a very successful F5 Agility event at Copenhagen (June) and New York (early August) showcasing the Cisco ACI-F5 BIG-IP joint solution in breakout sessions, world of solutions Expo, and in keynotes Panels. Cisco also published a jointly written technical whitepaper, a solutions brief and a Design guide with F5. In the webcast planned for Jan 13, we have an exclusive partner panel session featuring F5 exec, Calvin Rowland, and Cisco Exec, Soni Jiandani. I urge you to tune in to this webcast to get the low-down on the customer traction and how customers are benefiting from the policy based automation and application centric approach of our joint solution.

The Citrix and Cisco strategic partnership dates back to early 2010 with a strategic alliance on the UCS-Citrix Desktop Virtualization front. Since then, our alliance has expanded to other technology areas, and in August we introduced the ACI-Citrix NetScaler joint solution to market with the availability of the Citrix device package for Cisco ACI. Citrix and Cisco ACI engineering teams are also actively working in IETF and ODL standards efforts to create thought leadership around NSH and the OpFlex protocols. I can vouch that it will be a rewarding experience for you to listen to Steve Shah of Citrix at the Jan 13 webcast, and get insights on how customers are benefiting from our joint solution featuring open policy model and a programmable infrastructure. Check out the solutions brief and whitepaper from our joint website to gather more details.

A10 Networks is the new kid on the ACI eco-system block. ACI’s SDN paradigm is a natural fit for A10 Networks’s vision and strategy to expose L4-L7 networking features programmatically. As a first step, A10 Networks has successfully certified their device package for ACI and is now available for download. The A10 device package is open source, and can be easily enhanced by customers to create custom value with near ubiquitous programmability. Exciting near term joint engagements include potentially collaborating on an OpFlex and NSH standards effort as well as some advanced ADC features such as WAF, SSL offload, GSLB, and device partitions among others. I do not want to steal all of the webcast’s thunder, so tune in on Jan 13 to get a 360 degree view from A10 CTO Raj Jalan.

As I am writing this blog there is more exciting news. Yes, Radware is also testing their ACI device package with the Insieme Business Unit now. Stay tuned to hear more outcomes on this engagement. The L4-L7 ACI eco-system momentum is truly on a fast track. In closing, I want to re-iterate, do not forget to register for Cisco’s ACI webcast set for Jan 13.

Related Links

http://blogs.cisco.com/datacenter/citrix-netscaler-device-package-for-cisco-aci-goes-fcs

http://blogs.cisco.com/datacenter/f5-device-package-for-cisco-apic-goes-fcs

http://blogs.cisco.com/datacenter/aci_webcast

 

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